Tag Archives: trying

in defense of “trying”

yodathe word “trying” has a bad rap. why?

yoda said, “do, or do not. there is no try“. there is the idea that “trying” is associated with excuses, that trying comes just before failing, that trying implies no commitment, etc.

fair enough.

here are my points:

what does try mean?

let’s start by looking at some definitions of “try”:

  • to examine or investigate judicially
  • to put to test
  • to make an attempt

trying and commitment

when i google the word “trying”, the first site after the definition is trying to conceive. that’s interesting. all the women i know who are or have been “trying to conceive” are very, very committed to the process. one person i know spent eight years until she found what was working for her and her husband – and lots of blood, sweat and tears, not to mention dollars. i don’t think that there is a lack of commitment, or that “trying” stands for making lame excuses.

try and persistence

the last request in the extended version of the serenity prayer says

… and the strength to get up and try again, one day at a time.

trying, honest, earnest trying, requires strength. “trying” may make some people think of excuses – it often makes me think of persistence. “if at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again” and again, and again, and again.

trying as a process – example: quitting smoking

in addition to parents who try to conceive, another “trying” comes to mind: research shows that most people who successfully quit smoking have tried a number of times before they succeed. that was certainly true for me. interestingly enough, my first attempt or two were not overly committed. but the desire to quit grew over time. i honestly don’t know what the outcome would have been had someone said to me that trying isn’t good enough.

so what about yoda?

now i don’t want to diss yoda. i have a soft spot for him (you can even find him on my bathroom altar) so i want to take him seriously. in the snippet in question, luke says to yoda, with a dejected eeyore type of voice, “ok, i’ll try.” when yoda says, “do. or do not” i think the point is more about confidence than about dismissing the idea of trying wholeheartedly.

suffering from a lack of confidence (which, often enough, is truly a form of suffering) or simple being half-assed is something that you can do without invoking the concept of trying. i know enough people who say, “i’ll commit myself to … (losing weight, exercising, writing that letter, etc.)” and still don’t do it.

so leave the word “try” alone already.

(or go another route – try [!] the concept of “allowing“).

image by orange_beard

dr. joe capista on: going to retreats

once again i’m involved in a virtual book tour, this time for dr. joe capista’s book, what can a dentist teach you aboutrivendell retreat on bowen island business, life and success? for the next three days, i will discuss sections in this book where he talks about his experience with spirituality.

if you want to learn more about dr. capista, please go here.

today, i want to present to you what dr. capista says about retreats:

malvern is a christian retreat that happens to be catholic. you don’t have to be catholic to participate. it’s a semi structured weekend with religious services, quiet time, reflection time, meditation and prayer. they have a retreat master who gives various talks throughout the weekend based on a specific theme.

malvern was so amazing i vowed to attend every year without ever allowing any excuses. my first retreat at malvern so moved me that when i came home from the weekend i told charlie, “if i ever tell you i can’t go to malvern, tell me i’m a liar. there will never be a reason why i can’t go.”

the time i invested at malvern made me realize i needed a period at least once a year to have quiet time; to look back over the previous year and reflect. until i really participated in quiet time, i didn’t realize how much i craved it.

what intrigued me about this was his 100% commitment to go to the retreat. i know the intense restorative and mobilizing power of spiritual retreats and try to go to one a year. while this “trying” has mostly been successful, a) trying sounds a little weak and b) i’d actually like to go to more than one a year.

as i was reflecting on this, i thought about things i don’t just “try”. i don’t “try” to love my children. i don’t “try” to be committed to compassion. i don’t “try” to be creative. i just do it.

so what’s the difference?

i don’t know but it’s sure something to think about.

has that happened to you? “trying” to do something that you really yearn for? what would it take to turn this into something that you just do, no questions asked?

(this post was included in the just write carnival at the incurable disease of writing, as well as in the happiness carnival)


(the image of rivendell, one of my favourite retreat places, is by fellow vancouver blogger boris mann)